Page 21

A White Wedding Christmas Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:46:17

“Hey, brother of mine,” Lily called from the counter. “Can I interest you in a chopper?”

“Very funny.” Colin laughed.

Lily came out from behind the counter to give him a hug. “If not for a bike, to what do I owe this visit?”

“Well, I thought you might want to know about some of the wedding plans Natalie and I have put together.” Colin had a copy of the design portfolio to show her. He hoped that by showing her the designs, she would start getting more excited about the wedding.

Lily shrugged and drifted back to her post behind the counter. “I’m sure whatever you’ve chosen will be great.”

“At least look at it,” Colin said, opening the folder on the counter. “Natalie and her partners have worked really hard on putting together a beautiful wedding for you. We went with the winter wonderland theme you and Natalie discussed. For the cake, we chose alternating tiers of white almond sour cream cake with lemon curd filling and red velvet with cream cheese. Natalie said those were two of their most popular flavors, and they were both really tasty.”

“Sounds great,” Lily said, sitting back onto her stool. “I have no doubt that it will come together beautifully. As long as I have someone to marry us, it’s fine by me. The rest of this is just a bonus.”

“Have you ordered a dress yet?”

His sister shook her head. “No.”

Colin frowned. “Lily, you don’t have a dress?”

“I was just going to pull something from my closet. I have that white dress from my sorority induction ceremony.”

“Are you serious? You’ve got to go get a wedding dress, Lily.”

His sister shrugged again, sending Colin’s blood pressure higher. He couldn’t fathom how she didn’t care about any of this. Pam hadn’t been very interested in planning their wedding either. Since they were in a hurry, they’d ended up with a courthouse visit without frills. It was a little anticlimactic. He didn’t want that for Lily, but she seemed indifferent about the whole thing.

“I’ve got a job, Colin. Frankie and I work at the shop six days a week. I can’t go running around trying on fluffy Cinderella dresses. If you are so concerned with what I’m wearing, you can pick it out. I wear a size six. Natalie and I used to be able to share clothes when we were teenagers. At the engagement party she looked like she might still wear the same size as I do. I’m sure you two can work it out without me.”

Colin fought the urge to drop his face into his hands in dismay. “Will you at least go to a dress fitting?”

“Okay. So we’ll get a dress.” He pulled out his phone to call Natalie and let her know the bad news. He knew she had been busy over the weekend with a wedding, so he hadn’t bothered her with wedding or holiday details. He couldn’t wait any longer, though. He was certain this was an important detail and could be the very thing that pushed his cool, calm and collected wedding planner over the edge.

She didn’t answer, so he left a quick message on her phone. When he slipped his phone back into his pocket, he noticed Lily watching him. “What?”

“Your voice changed when you left her a message.”

“I was trying to soften the blow,” he insisted.

Lily shook her head. “I don’t know. That voice sounded like the same voice I remember from when you would tie up the house phone talking to girls in high school. What’s going on between you two?”

“Going on?” Colin tried to find the best way to word it. “I don’t know. We’ve spent a lot of time together planning the wedding. Things have been...interesting.”

“No,” Colin said more confidently. He was determined not to wade into that territory with Natalie. She was beautiful and smart and alluring, but she also had it in her to crush him. “Natalie and I have very different ideas on what constitutes a relationship.”

Lily nodded. “Natalie has never been the princess waiting for her prince to save her. She always kept it casual with guys. I take it you’re not interested in a booty call. You should consider it. Going from serious relationship to serious relationship isn’t working for you either.”

Colin did not want to have this conversation with his little sister. Instead, he ignored the kernel of truth in her words. “I am not going to discuss booty calls with you. I can’t believe I even said that phrase out loud.”